Panel Recommendations in Action: The National Breast Cancer Roundtable
The 2022 President’s Cancer Panel report, “Closing Gaps in Cancer Screening: Connecting People, Communities, and Systems to Improve Equity and Access,” called for the creation of a roundtable with a particular focus on breast cancer prevention and screening. The American Cancer Society (ACS) heard this call to action and established the National Breast Cancer Roundtable (NBCRT), which is already bringing key change-makers together.
Dr. John Williams, a breast surgeon who served as Chair of the President’s Cancer Panel from 2020 to 2023, co-leads the NBCRT. “NBCRT is bringing people together to make the Panel's vision of equitable breast cancer screening a reality,” says Dr. Williams. “We can do far more together than any group or organization could do on its own.”
Breast cancer is among the most common cancers, making up more than 15% of new cancer cases in the United States each year. Nearly 300,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2023, and more than 43,000 people will die from the disease. Mammograms and other screenings can identify cancer in its earliest stages, as well as lesions and other masses that could develop into cancer if left untreated. These methods of early detection can improve outcomes and prevent deaths. Unfortunately, many Americans, especially those from socially and economically disadvantaged populations, lack adequate access to preventive care. Despite having lower rates of breast cancer diagnosis than White women, Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to die from the disease.
The NBCRT is working to eliminate these disparities. The roundtable model is a proven method for bringing together different organizations to address major issues in cancer. The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable continues to make progress toward its goal of ensuring that 80% of eligible adults are screened for colorectal cancer, while the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable works to increase uptake of the life-saving HPV vaccine. The NBCRT will lead collective action across the country to increase awareness of and access to timely, high quality, and compassionate breast cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care for all.
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden voiced her support at the roundtable launch meeting. “We’re going to find the best way to help people get vaccines, screenings like mammograms and pap smears, and all of the care that they need—no matter their race, ZIP code, or background,” Dr. Biden said. “And we’re going to come together to accelerate research so we can better treat these diseases and save more lives.”
Within the next year, the NBCRT will secure commitments from partners across the cancer community to increase access to screening and care for breast cancer. The group will craft health policy recommendations and strategies for reducing breast cancer disparities in the United States and will deliver roadmaps for how partners across government, nonprofits, industry, and health care can work together to increase access to cancer screening, diagnosis, and care.
The President’s Cancer Panel applauds ACS for its quick action in creating the NBCRT. Achieving equity in screening is just one of several important breast cancer-related goals the Roundtable can help achieve.